Below, you will find the text of Pastor Brad’s sermons (and occasionally the sermons of guest speakers.) If you would like to see all the sermons pertaining to a particular topic or series or book of the Bible, or even if you would like to view sermons by the date they were preached, please click on the appropriate box to the right.
But, at every congregation I have served, there’s a lot more paying attention to the problems than there is paying attention to what God is DOING about them. And when we stop paying attention to what God is doing about them, or we pay attention but don’t say anything when we notice, we wander down the path of the way of perishing instead of the way of blessing. We start complaining more. We increasingly think life is a curse instead of a blessing. We increasingly lose sight of the reality that God is FOR us (that God LOVES us) instead of thinking that God is neutral or even against us. We lose trust in God because we aren’t reminded that God is constantly acting in ways that demonstrate God’s trustworthiness. In sum, we start to resemble something very DIFFERENT than the people of God.
So, here’s the thing. Trusting in God doesn’t mean that you’ll get whatever YOU want. It doesn’t mean that the reasons that might cause you to fear will go away – that you will experience no hardship or challenge in life. But it does mean that you will come to know that God’s way, God’s big picture, is bigger and better than ANY other way, even the way of your desires.
Ultimately, the purpose of a psalm of lament is to help the worshipper – that’s YOU – move from spiritual pain to spiritual joy. In psalm 69, the author begins with “save me, O God” and ends with “The Lord hears the needy…let the heavens and earth praise Him.” That’s what God wants for you when you’re in pain. That’s what I want for you when you’re in pain. That’s what the psalmists want for you when you’re in pain…a movement from suffering to joy.
I read from a commentator on Psalm 113 this week these words: “Such a faith (as that of the psalmist in Psalm 113) makes all the difference in life.” Wouldn’t you agree? If, no matter what situation you find yourself in, no matter how bad it gets, you KNOW deep down, that the almighty and all-powerful creator of the heavens and the earth is AWARE of your situation and will work to resolve it, to bring you from pain to blessing….if you KNOW that, doesn’t it make all the difference?
The psalms, they provide great clues, great advice, for how to live a life of blessing. That kind of life, it’s a choice. It’s there for the taking. All you have to do is follow the way of God. Follow the way of God, and God will watch over you, and prosperity – however God defines it – will be yours. Follow any OTHER way and, well, watch out.
May 24, 2015 Sermon “Everyone Shall Be Saved” Ezekiel 37:1-14 37 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they […]
Protection from all badness. Unity in God’s mission for the world. Set apartness for God. These are the things Jesus prayed for us. Would y’all agree that these are some pretty GOOD things…worthy of being called “good news?”
If you want to love, all you have to do is place the needs of others – all others, even the most difficult and especially the most needy others – above the needs of yourself. Folks, THAT’S love. It’s not really all that complicated. If you really believe you are doing what is in the best interests of others, you are loving. If WE – if CHURCH – really acted in the best interests of others instead of getting caught up in all the others stuff that for some reason so occupies us, I have serious doubts that very many people at all would say we’re more about the organizing part of religion than we are about loving. I seriously doubt that many people at all would call us hypocrites.
So…there it is, the implications of this amazing metaphor of the vine and the branches: God wants all his branches to bear fruit, to do things that make a positive difference in the lives of other people. And that fruit-bearing, THAT is actually our purpose in life, and it’s the key to living a purposeful life. And the only way to bear fruit is through a connection with Jesus – don’t fool yourself into thinking there’s any other way. And the way this works is to develop a relationship, a connection with Jesus and to LISTEN to what HE wants and DO that. That’s what Jesus was and is trying to communicate to us through this metaphor.